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Run brings colorful experience to Grand Forks

A runner passes through a cloud of pink at the first color station Saturday at the Color Run 5k Saturday Sep. 21, 2013 in Grand Forks. JOHN STENNES/GRAND FORKS HERALD

It was a chilly morning Saturday in Grand Forks, but a slight nip didn't discourage nearly 4,000 runners from packing the Alerus Center's parking lot in preparation for a race.

The runners weren't there for glory or awards and the only people keeping time were the athletes themselves. Most were there for this race's unusual feature: Covering people in colored powder while they run.

Known as the "Happiest 5k on the Planet," Grand Forks' first Color Run kicked off at 8 a.m. when waves of participants left the starting line and made their way to South 42nd Street.

There, race staff and volunteers bombarded runners -- who were encouraged to wear white clothing -- with handfuls of colored powder throughout the course.

While white was the go-to color, many dressed up their outfits with accessories such as clown wigs and unicorn hats. Others ran in costumes.

For those needing a little more flair, Color Run staff handed out tutus, socks and fanny packs to wear.

Some of the smaller participants took in the run from the shoulders of parents or from strollers.

Rainbow of color

No matter what they wore or how they completed the course, runners of all ages were splattered with color.

Hair that was normally brown, blonde or red quickly acquired tints of green, blue and purple.

Lana Meyer and her two daughters, Autumn, 15, and Rachael, 14, looked like a set of tie-dye shirts from head to toe when they were through running.

"We had a blast," Meyer said, after she and her daughters finished taking pictures of their once-white clothing.

The opportunity to take part in the Color Run was irresistible to them.

"It's something I've always wanted to do," Autumn Meyer said.

The race was the second of the month for the trio. Two weeks ago, instead of powder they were covered in muck during Extreme Racing North Dakota's Uff Da Mud Run.

Behind the Meyers, hundreds gathered for the second color toss of the day.

As part of the post-run celebration, each runner was given a packet of colored powder, made from cornstarch, with their registration.

On cue, participants from each wave fling the powder into the air, according to Color Run staff member River Richins.

"When everybody throws it up, it's nothing but rainbow," he said. "You can't even see the sun."

Call Jewett at (701) 780-1108; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1108; or send email to Follow her on Twitter at @gfcitybeat or on her blog at